Magical Gnomes Wander Through This Area

     Late morning, around eleven I grabbed my walking stick/ski pole and headed out to take a Uriah for a walk. First thing I noticed was the pair of old jeans that had been pulled out of the Trees and water 2burn pile and looked as though someone had played a game of tug of war with them. Using the end of my ski pole I was able to slip under one leg and flip the pants over a drooping branch of an old bog willow. I just want to see how badly the animal wanted them. Will he reach up and pull them down, or walk away form them?

     Tomorrow will tell.

     Walking along the tree line wearing my fashionable bright orange jacket, I decided to slip into the denser foliage. Normally I wouldn’t walk into the woods. Ticks treat me like a free taxi ride. Today I don’t have to worry; the tempeture is barely sixty degrees. Fingers crossed I am hoping they are all snoozing. At least that’s what I am hoping, as I peer around some fallen trees.

     “Hey, Uriah, give me a paw here, how do I get through these trees?” I stepped back and waited for Uriah to catch up to me. I patted his head and slipped him a milk bone.

      Uriah looked up at me, caught a scent and stuck his head in a large hole.   Eyes only, keeping his head buried in a hole in the ground.  I whistled, he started wagging his tail and pushed past me.  

     I weaved a drunken path deeper into the wooded area, attempted to bypass the heavy vines that were tangling around my legs, while totally avoiding the wild rose bushes. I didn’t get far and I had to peel off the heavy thorns as I stepped on the vines in order to get past them. Uriah was already at least twenty feet ahead of me.

     “Wait up” I called out; he stopped turned and rolled his bugging eyes. I could swear he was laughing!

    Maneuvering my way through the vines, I stepped into a darkened clearing.  The ground snapped and popped under foot like Rice Krispies. The air, damp and cool filled my universe with a heavy musk scent. I looked around half expecting a deer to jump out at me. Nothing moved. Uriah seemed unconcerned. The first thing I noticed was the deep black dirt, spongy with layers of moss, leaves and decomposing branches. The ground was damp, without a drop of standing water.  

     The remains of last September’s floods were evident everywhere. One of the older trees had fallen and was stretched out in front of me. Its bark had been scrapped and torn off in places. I knew that woodpeckers could tear into the bark; usually their damage consisted of uniform holes.

     Round grey mushrooms, the size of grapes, were growing along the broken base. It was beautiful in its demise; it was feeding the area, with an array of bugs and sweet rotting bark. I spotted three different types of moss growing along its trunk.    At that moment I nearly lost my senses and walked a little to close to the fallen tree. A warning came from above.  A hawk screeched! That high pitch piercing sound that let me know I was moving in his territory. The blue jays added to the sound, and then a lone crow flew in-between the trees above my head.

     Trees towering above me had large mushrooms growing in their branch bark ridges (where the branch connects to tree) standing straight up. Now I’ve seen mushrooms growing along the side of a tree, smaller mushrooms. These mushrooms were the size of a cantaloupe. Their base was the thickness of my fist and the tops like umbrellas. Once used by magical gnomes that are said to wander through this area. Hmmm! Maybe that’s were they store their umbrellas!

      I moved away from the downed tree. The view around me was perfection. I stood, just staring until Uriah came by, sat at my feet and offered me his paw.  Slipping my hand into my pocket I gave him another Milk Bone. That dog loves his treats!

      Reveling in the deep woodsy landscape spread out in front of me- I was awe struck.

      A carpet of three leafed plants, about a foot tall, spread out around me. I could see small tiny, tiny bright green sprouts pushing up through the rich black dirt while the sunlight tried to slip through the green canopy above me.   A few more steps and suddenly the trees opened up to a field of grass, nearly up to my waist.

     Nearly forgetting I wasn’t in Oz, Mother Nature sent in her tiny vampire mosquitoes letting me know it really wasn’t all that cold out, and in this kingdom they still reined supreme.  

     With that first slap to my forehead, the magic dissipated.  Looking around I could see scat marking the base of some of the trees, and just the thought of poison ivy had me slowly inching my way back towards the short grass near the house. I’ll come back   and take some notes, when the temperature drops a few more degrees.

“Friesner Herbarium”

“Tree identification

http://www.butler.edu/herbarium/treeid/treeparts.html

The Visual Dictionary”

http://www.infovisual.info/01/002_en.html

http://www.atozteacherstuff.com/Themes/Trees/

Raccoon scat”

http://www.wildernesscollege.com/raccoon-tracks.html

 

“YouTube screaming red-tail hawk”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33DWqRyAAUw

 

 

“Animal scat”

http://www.bear-tracker.com/animalscat.html

 

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